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Posts Tagged ‘daniel alfredson’

The Girl Who Played With Fire (2009)

In Film Reviews on January 8, 2011 at 6:49 pm

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Fans of the Stieg Larsson trilogy can rejoice that the second film installment has arrived from Sweden.  A new director, Daniel Alfredson, has taken over the trilogy from Neils Arden Oplev, who directed the first film, and things are still moving along at breakneck speed.  All the writers who have worked on adapting the novels for the screen have done an excellent job; the essentials of the story are all preserved, but the fat is trimmed around the edges.  It’s an object lesson in how to translate a novel into a film.

The story still centers on cyberpunk genius Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace, enigmatic and fabulous) and her friend, journalist Mikael Blomqvist (Michael Nyqvist).  After solving a 40-year-old mystery together in the first film, the pair find themselves drawn into a top secret government conspiracy when they uncover the name of a defected Russian spy.  Soon Lisbeth is being hunted by just about everyone, and Mikael is once again working overtime to try and clear her name.  Throw some new bad guys, including a blond giant who can’t feel pain, into the mix, and you’ve got a crackling little thriller.

“The Girl Who Played With Fire” does display some of the weaknesses one usually finds in the middle of a trilogy—it’s a bit confusing and doesn’t explain itself terribly well, and the ending definitely leaves you hanging.  That being said, the performances are excellent and the action moves along so quickly that you’re left gasping to keep up.  Other than a single salacious scene, not much is made of Salander’s bisexual exploits (which aren’t explored in the first film); since women seem to have to be either married (“The Kids Are Alright”) or insane (“Black Swan”) to have sex with other women in current American cinema, one wonders about how this aspect of Salander’s character will be dealt with in the upcoming American remakes.  Stay tuned.

“Fire” definitely keeps the energy of the “Dragon Tattoo” trilogy going, but I have a feeling that the final installment, “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest,” will be the crowning achievement.  Fans of the novels won’t be disappointed with this film, and even those not familiar with the story can—with a little help, and some subtitle reading—follow along.  It’s all great fun to feel that we’re all living in Salander’s world, and this film will make you keep wanting to come back for more.

“The Girl Who Played With Fire” is currently available on DVD.